Longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall possesses a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.
In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.
For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.
What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).
In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than 40 years of farming experience.
"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."
Author: Will Bonsall
Distilling decades of experience, Essential Light Straw Clay Construction is the most complete book in English on the broad range of light straw clay techniques in use today. Fully illustrated, it provides step-by-step guidance for both the DIYer and professional designer and builder alike. It covers: • Material specifications, performance, and when and where to use it • Estimating quantities, costs, and sourcing • Illustrated, step-by-step guidance for mixing and installation, including "slip-chip" variations • Detail drawings for various wall systems including stud, timber, and pole framing, Larsen trusses, I-joists, plus retrofits • Code references, compliance, and best practice • Finishing and maintenance techniques • Additional resources.
Author: LYDIA DOLEMAN
All over the world, people are turning toward homeopathic and alternative medicines. Essential Oils for Healing is an easy-to-use guide for anyone who wants to learn how to use essential oils to heal a multitude of illnesses. Ailments are listed in alphabetical order and are accompanied by hundreds of recipes you can re-create at home using the essential oils at your disposal. Tips on safe handling and usage, contraindications, and storage ensure that even the most novice of essential oils user can get the healing benefits from our planet's natural resources. Did you know that a few drops of lavender oil can be added to your children’s shampoo to protect them from head lice? Or that a drop of clove oil mixed with orange oil can relieve a mind-numbing toothache? Common, everyday problems (such as nausea, dry skin, and insect bites) to more serious issues (including migraines and arthritis) are included, along with all-natural remedies that are simple and accessible.
Author: Michele McDaniel & Vannoy Lin
Prefabricated straw bale wall panels combine the performance and low environmental impact of traditional straw bale with reduced labor and more consistent results. Going well beyond the scope of many natural building books, this indispensable manual includes a complete introduction to the use of prefabricated bale walls, packed with all the information you need to determine whether they are the right choice for your project.Written by the world's leading sustainable builders, designers, and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success.
Author: Chris Magwood
Author: LOUIS LAMOUR
What's the difference between a weanling and a yearling, or a farrow and a barrow? Country and city mice alike will delight in Julia Rothman's charming illustrated guide to the curious parts and pieces of rural living. Dissecting everything from tractors and pigs to fences, hay bales, crop rotation patterns, and farm tools, Rothman gives a richly entertaining tour of the quirky details of country life. From the shapes of squash varieties to the parts of a goat; from how a barn is constructed to what makes up a beehive, every corner of the barnyard is uncovered and celebrated. A perfect gift for gardeners, locavores, homesteaders, and country-living enthusiasts alike.
Author: Julia Rothman
From familiar breeds such as the Border Collie, Corgi, and Dachshund to the lesser-known Akbash, Puli, and Hovawart, Janet Vorwald Dohner describes 93 breeds of livestock guardian dogs, herding dogs, terriers, and traditional multipurpose farm dogs, highlighting the tasks each dog is best suited for and describing its physical characteristics and temperament. She also offers an accessible history of how humans bred dogs to become our partners in work and beyond, providing a thorough introduction to these highly intelligent, independent, and energetic breeds.
Author: Janet Vorwald Dohner
Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, because virtually all food was local. Food for daily consumption (fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy products) was grown at home or sourced from local farms. Today, most of the food consumed in the United States and, increasingly, around the globe, is sourced from industrial farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which power a food system rife with environmental, economic, and health-related problems.
The tide, however, is slowly but steadily turning back in what has been broadly termed the “farm-to-table” movement. In Farm to Table, Darryl Benjamin and Chef Lyndon Virkler explore how the farm-to-table philosophy is pushing back modern, industrialized food production and moving beyond isolated “locavore” movements into a broad and far-reaching coalition of farmers, chefs, consumers, policy advocates, teachers, institutional buyers, and many more all working to restore healthful, sustainable, and affordable food for everyone.
Divided into two distinct but complementary halves, “Farm” and “Table,” Farm to Table first examines the roots of our contemporary industrial food system, from the technological advances that presaged the “Green Revolution” to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s infamous dictum to farmers to “Get big or get out” in the 1970s. Readers will explore the many threats to ecology and human health that our corporatized food system poses, but also the many alternatives (from permaculture to rotation-intensive grazing) that small farmers are now adopting to meet growing consumer demand. The second half of the book is dedicated to illuminating best practices and strategies for schools, restaurants, health care facilities, and other businesses and institutions to partner with local farmers and food producers, from purchasing to marketing.
No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from all economic strata and in a number of settings, from hospital and office cafeterias, from elementary schools to fast-casual restaurants. Farm to Table is a one-of-a-kind resource on how to integrate sustainable principles into each of these settings and facilitate intelligent, healthful food choices at every juncture as our food system evolves. While borrowing from the best ideas of the past, the lessons herein are designed to help contribute to a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable tomorrow.
Author: D. Benjamin & L. Virkler
A true farm-to-table cookbook, chef Eric Skokan's inspiring and gorgeous Farm, Fork, Food centers on the nearly 400 animals and 250 varieties of vegetables and fruits that he cares for and grows on Black Cat Farm, his 130-acre organic farm outside of Boulder, Colorado. Using the seasonal ingredients at his fingertips, Skokan includes more than 125 extraordinary yet simple recipes in his first cookbook. The chapters include recipes from each season, such as a Spring Pea Soup with Mint, Lemon & Crème Fraîche or a Grilled Pork Steak with Sauce Verte, Tomatoes & Fresh Borlotti Beans; from a Jack Be Little Pumpkin & Polenta Soufflé with Brussels Sprouts to a Woodcutter's Tableau in Gingerbread.
Author: Eric Skokan
The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms is a small-scale diversified working and teaching farm. They are a registered nursery, licensed seed dealer, grain dealer, and dairy goat farm. This book includes recipes and information regarding their workshops, from simple-cheese making, tapping maple trees using sumac spiles, making flower essence jellies, growing hops and bloody butcher corn, and much more.
Author: Susan Tipton-Fox
In Farmall: The Red Tractor That Revolutionized Farming, the history of the Farmall is traced from the first Farmall, developed in the early 1920s, through its evolution to the new Farmall models. The book combines a broad cultural history of Farmall with photos of restored machines, as well as color and black-and-white archival photography.
Author: Randy Leffingwell
As communities seek greater resiliency in the wake of economic upheaval, job loss, climate change and global food shortages, local farmers are seen as a key resource to help reinvigorate (or create) a diversified, regionalized, ecologically based food system. Farms with a Future explores the passion, creativity and entrepreneurship that's needed to help family farms find their niche and remain sustainable and successful in an age of agribusiness and consolidation.
What is a farm with a future? What will make it sustainable and resilient? And what key qualities and skills does a farmer need in today's climate to be successful?
Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this must-read book for anyone aspiring to get into small to mid-scale market farming, or who wants to make their existing farm more dynamic, profitable and, above all, sustainable.
A growing interest in locally grown food is evident: In 2008, local food sales (direct to consumers or direct to restaurants/retailers) totaled $4.8 billion dollars, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Those sales were predicted to top $7 billion by the end of 2011.
An experienced farmer herself, Thistlethwaite does not idealize or romanticize her subject in Farms with a Future. "If you are not prepared for some serious hard work, inclement weather, dirt lodged in every crevice of your body, and being so dog-tired that you fall into your easy chair at night and don't wake up until the next morning, then you might look into another vocation," the author warns.
Thistlethwaite and her husband took a one-year sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers to learn some of their best practices … and a whole lot about what doesn't work too.
Farms with a Future introduces readers to some of the country's most innovative farmers, who are embracing their "inner entrepreneur": unabashedly marketing and sharing the pride they have for what they produce; building systems and finding efficiencies and cost savings so they don't have to keep raising prices every year; shying away from huge debt loads by developing ways to build their businesses patiently over time, using earned income or creative arrangements with their community of customers; harnessing natural processes to ensure they are not degrading the natural resources the farms depend upon; and treating their employees and volunteers like family.
While many other books address agricultural production, very few talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future will help guide farmers to manage for long-term sustainability and build a triple-bottom-line farming business focused on economic viability, social justice and ecological soundness.
Author: Rebecca Thistlethwaite